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Around minute 10:50 in the Lecture Video for Lecture #5: Cabin in the Sky (1943) with Vanessa Theme Ament and Richard Edwards, https://learn.canvas.net/courses/2206/pages/week-2-monday-an-historical-overview-of-the-second-decade?module_item_id=218041 Dr. Edwards brought up this subject - I believe it was Vincent Minnelli who brought editing into dance numbers to highlight certain moves.  I remember something that Fred Astaire once said and emphasized about his own dance routines which is that often editing a routine was a way to "cheat" and that when those close-ups are shot it is not live but just that particular sequence and was "lazy" so to speak.  So he, himself, insisted that his dance routines were shot in full frame and done as one continuous piece.  So frankly, in my own humble opinion, I do not think that that "innovation" was something positive.  To this day, I can't stand when they cut away to "body parts" during a dance. 

And while it might be true that this was something that could be done on film and not in the theater, remember that movies were a way of bringing the theater or Broadway experience to audiences who did not live in New York or large metropolises that would have the possibility of seeing those shows live.  

How do others feel?

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Typically when they cut away to shots of just the dancer's feet or just their hands, and only shows the actor's face, that usually indicates that that actor is not doing his or her own dancing.  When there are long shots, where the full body is in view, often times, the shot is from far away and/or the dancer's face is obscured.  This typically indicates that that actor is being doubled by a professional dancer.  Flashdance comes to mind.  Jennifer Beals herself does not perform the famous Julliard audition.  She was doubled by a professional dancer.  In Dirty Dancing however, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze's full bodies and faces were used, because they actually took the time to learn the routines for the film.  Swayze was already an accomplished dancer and taught Grey how to dance.

In Singin' in the Rain, in the "Broadway Melody" number with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, obviously both actors are doing their own dancing, but there is a big cut in the middle of one of the scenes, which I've always found a bit jarring.  Supposedly, there was some dance move that Kelly and Charisse did that censors found to salacious for 1952 audiences and it had to be edited out of the final product.

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3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Typically when they cut away to shots of just the dancer's feet or just their hands, and only shows the actor's face, that usually indicates that that actor is not doing his or her own dancing.  When there are long shots, where the full body is in view, often times, the shot is from far away and/or the dancer's face is obscured.  This typically indicates that that actor is being doubled by a professional dancer.  Flashdance comes to mind.  Jennifer Beals herself does not perform the famous Julliard audition.  She was doubled by a professional dancer.  In Dirty Dancing however, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze's full bodies and faces were used, because they actually took the time to learn the routines for the film.  Swayze was already an accomplished dancer and taught Grey how to dance.

In Singin' in the Rain, in the "Broadway Melody" number with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, obviously both actors are doing their own dancing, but there is a big cut in the middle of one of the scenes, which I've always found a bit jarring.  Supposedly, there was some dance move that Kelly and Charisse did that censors found to salacious for 1952 audiences and it had to be edited out of the final product.

And where does one find the edited dance move by Cyd and Gene? 

More importantly, I agree that full shots are ideal.  I think the scenes should be shot in full, and then the director could ask a dancer to allow tight zoom on the move the director wants to feature, but Fred is right. Not shooting it in full all in one is cheating.  Movies can give us magic, but true magic is the real deal.

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1 hour ago, MotherofZeus said:

And where does one find the edited dance move by Cyd and Gene? 

More importantly, I agree that full shots are ideal.  I think the scenes should be shot in full, and then the director could ask a dancer to allow tight zoom on the move the director wants to feature, but Fred is right. Not shooting it in full all in one is cheating.  Movies can give us magic, but true magic is the real deal.

I have no idea where footage of the dance move is and honestly, I'm not even sure if that is true.  It's what I read somewhere.  It seems logical however, because the entire number appears to have been done in one take, except for that quick "jump" in the routine.  

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21 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I have no idea where footage of the dance move is and honestly, I'm not even sure if that is true.  It's what I read somewhere.  It seems logical however, because the entire number appears to have been done in one take, except for that quick "jump" in the routine.  

I've read the same info in several different places. Considering SINGIN' IN THE RAIN was directed and choreographed by Donan and Kelly, who were both dancers, and edited by Adrienne Fazan ( who also edited ANCHORS AWEIGH and KISMET)one would think the finished project would look seamless.

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I guess for me it depends on whether or not the splice is intrusive.  There are many edited splices in the barn dance in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and I have never found them intrusive.  "The Jet Song" (West Side Story) and "New York, New York" (On the Town) use many takes to show them moving around the city.  There are many splices in the dream ballet in Oklahoma!.  And there are even splices in some of Fred Astaire's numbers ("I Won't Dance", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off").  But none of these splices interfere with my enjoyment of the piece.  Still I am always amazed when a dance or production number packs a lot into a single take.

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23 minutes ago, Jim K said:

...Still I am always amazed when a dance or production number packs a lot into a single take.

Me too! I still to this day get sweaty hands watching the "Pick Yourself Up" dance number from SWING TIME. That last long take, which includes Fred and Ginger swinging each other over the ring gate and back again, then quickly dancing in the other direction in ballroom stance to the other side of the gate ring,  separating, then in unison each doing a turning jump to exit the ring. Wow! Watch it again:

 

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On 6/12/2018 at 4:45 PM, sagebrush said:

I've read the same info in several different places. Considering SINGIN' IN THE RAIN was directed and choreographed by Donan and Kelly, who were both dancers, and edited by Adrienne Fazan ( who also edited ANCHORS AWEIGH and KISMET)one would think the finished project would look seamless.

I read that there was a few seconds in the dance where Charese's genetal area was showing and they cut it for obvious reasons.  I believe a saw a still which showed what was cut out, but not sure.

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